Are you always struggling to control your food cravings? Does stress-introduced snacking sabotage your diet attempts? A new book suggests that meditation may be the answer.
In Meditate your Weight, yoga master Tiffany Cruikshank suggests that five minutes of meditation a day may help reduce cortisol levels – the stress hormone that leads to belly fat.
Due to its relaxing nature, it may help dieters stick to their eating plans as they won't be so vulnerable to reaching for the biscuits after a hard day.
And getting into the practice of calming your mind may give you the space to analyse what's triggered your cravings before you give into them.
Tiffany has shared her step-by-step meditation guide below. For the full 2- day plan, see the book.
Meditate to watch weight
1. Set time aside to meditate frequently – even if it's only for a few minutes every day. Short but often is far more effective than long periods you only schedule in occasionally.
2. Aim to meditate at the same time every day.
3. Find a spot away from possible distractions (radio, TV, computers, phones and other people) and sit on a cushion on the floor or perch on the end of the chair and allow your neck, back and shoulders to be relaxed.
Don't let yourself slouch back or get too comfortable, as you might zone out or even fall asleep, which defeats the objective. A state of 'conscious alertness' gives the best results.
4. Set a timer for five minutes.
5. Close your eyes, or keep them slightly open and softly focused toward the floor in front of you, and take a few moments to concentrate on your breathing and settle your mind.
6. When you're settled, begin by noticing the sensations of the outline of your body, your belly, your hips, your legs. Then turn your mind towards creating this image of yourself at a healthy weight. What does it feel like?
Can you picture yourself slim? What do you look like? How does it feel? Try to notice all of the sensations in this new, healthy body.
Do you walk differently or carry yourself differently? Do your clothes fit differently? Do you talk or interact differently?
Picture yourself slimmer - going through every aspect of a full day. Really visualise all the detail and make a point of noticing everything that feels different.
7. As your meditation ends, write down in a notebook all the positive changes you noticed in the slimmer you - in your body, your mind, your stress levels, your state of health, your relationships, work success - everything.
8. Keep in your mind this image of the slimmer you, and make a point of coming back to it at intervals throughout the day. Hold it in your mind for just a few moments, close your eyes, and think about how you are going to feel.
9. Repeat this meditation every day for a month, and increase your meditation time to 10 minutes if you can.